Borderlands: The Pre Sequel

2K Australia has hit the mark with a new game in the Borderlands universe that goes even further down the rabbit hole.

Let me start off by saying I’ve only played through the game one time, so far. It was on Nisha the Lawbringer. I have much more to explore. I’m sure that more hours, more playthroughs, and more characters will allow for a greater understanding of the game, but I’ve gathered enough information to write this review.

The game starts out with a flashback. Athena, bound in front of a firing squad, tells Lilith the story of how she came to be in Handsome Jack’s band of merry men — accomplices, as it were.

The story unfolds and you become an assistant to Jack (not handsome yet) as he tries to do good. However, as we all know from Borderlands 2, his idea of right and wrong is… fuzzy.

My first playthrough on Nisha has been great. Her showdown ability is fun, and it comes with a well assigned soundbite of an old-timey film reel.

As I made my way through the game, my buddy Pete chose to go as Claptrap the Fragtrap. I couldn’t help but sigh. Humorously, the game asks that you confirm, three separate times, that you definitely want to play this annoying character. Pete definitely had some frustrating moments, but in ways we could laugh off.

The Borderlands franchise is known for its zany and crude humor, which go hand-in-hand with a compelling storyline. 2K Australia replicated this feat in true Borderlands fashion without making you feel like you were retreading the same ground.

The addition of things like zero-gravity, laser guns, and butt slamming gave the gameplay a distinct feel while remaining in a familiar universe.

The cutscenes were done well, particularly for their use of Australian voice actors for all non-known-repeat characters(Jack, Lilith, Brick, Tina, etc. They even snuck in a nod to the Aussie way with the O2 (oxygen) kit, which they affectionately call an “Oz kit.” Nice work, 2K Australia.

The length of the game is sufficient for what was really meant to be an add-on to BL2. Given that there are at least four expansions planned, I’m sure we’ll be busy for several months yet.

That said, I do have a few gripes.

1.) One of my favorite aspects of the Borderlands games is their entry sequences. They’re entertaining, engaging, informative, acrobatic, and always done with the perfect song. Borderlands 1 and 2 were exemplary, introducing the populace to up-and-coming artists and songs.

My buddy Pete and I were both disappointed by the song choice in the Pre-Sequel. We both agreed the song “Come With Me Now,” by the band Kongos, which was in the game trailer, would have been a better choice.

2.) Both Pete and I found ourselves stuck from time to time, and at various locations in the terrain This didn’t happen in the previous games. We were unable to walk, run, or jump out of the graphics trap. It’s a frustrating experience for any gamer.

3.) Along those same lines, upon attempting to give a few weapons to Pete, I dropped them on the ground, as we had in the earlier games. Those weapons then bounced on the ground and into the wall, lost forever. After this happened the first time, we only ever traded weapons going forward, but we still saw loot drops from mobs, bosses, and crates in zero-g bounce into walls. Very frustrating. One of my largest gripes from BL 2 was when loot exploded from a boss into crevices or on top of statues that you couldn’t get to. My one major wish for 2K in this franchise is to ensure that when loot-splosions happen, the surrounding terrain is checked for potential dead zones.

4.) Given how often the blue O2 canisters drop, it would be nice to see a starker color contrast between the blue O2 and light blue moonstone.

One of my favorite parts of the game, came at the end. Once True Vault Hunter mode is unlocked, you are treated to some new dialog that will make you laugh and appreciate 2K’s efforts. I won’t spoil the fun/surprise.

Other than those few complaints, this game is well done, and I assume it will only get better with patches and expansions.

Kudos to 2K Australia.

4.5 out 5 Stars.

Edited by: Jeff Boehm